Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Tuesday, Jan 18, 2005
Shripad Nadkarni, Sharda Agarwal quit Coca-Cola
Sindhu J. Bhattacharya
New Delhi , Jan. 17
COCA-COLA India may soon need to revamp its marketing team in Mumbai. After months of speculation, its Vice-President Marketing, Mr Shripad Nadkarni, put in his papers on Monday. Also following suit is Director Marketing, Ms Sharda Agarwal. Both are leaving to start a strategic marketing consultancy.
When contacted, Mr Nadkarni confirmed he has put in his papers and that Ms Agarwal would be joining him in the new endeavour.
He said he would continue to be with the company to co-ordinate all the advertising and marketing campaigns for this summer.
During the four years Mr Nadkarni spent at Coke, the company launched some memorable advertising campaigns including the "thanda matlab Coca Cola" one starring Aamir Khan.
In fact, Mr Nadkarni is also credited with having successfully integrated this punch line with the five-rupee price point strategy Coca-Cola decided to promote over the last two years, again using Aamir Khan to convey this message to the masses.
A Coke spokesperson confirmed that Mr Nadkarni and Ms Agarwal have both decided to move on but declined to make any further comments.
Mr Nadkarni's decision comes at a time when Coke slashed its television and print advertising budget by about 20 per cent last year, after margins were hurt due to the lowered price point strategy.
Now, the company is busy devising plans for the upcoming peak summer season.
This will be the first summer after two rounds of price increase took the 200 ml pack size to Rs 6 and the 300 ml to Rs 8 in select markets in 2004. Prices of the larger PET packs have also been increased late last year.
Mr Nadkarni's departure from the carbonated soft drink industry also comes soon after PepsiCo India appointed Ms Punita Lal as its marketing head for the South Asia Beverage Business Unit.
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